Feb. 24, 2006
#20 Brigham Young (6-3) vs. #7 Notre Dame (7-0)Saturday, February 25, 11 a.m. (EST) â€¢ Eck Tennis Center â€¢ Notre Dame, IN- Live Scoring Updates: und.com
#51 Wisconsin (3-5) vs. #7 Notre DameSunday, February 26, 11 a.m. (EST) â€¢Eck Tennis Center â€¢ Notre Dame, IN- Live Scoring Updates: und.com
#31 Indiana (8-2) vs. #7 Notre DameTuesday, February 28, 3 p.m. (EST) â€¢Eck Tennis Center â€¢ Notre Dame, IN- Live Scoring Updates: und.com
#7 IRISH CONTINUE HOMESTAND WITH THREE MATCHES IN FOUR DAYS: The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (7-0) will continue a seven-match homestand with three matches in four days, first taking on a pair of teams it lost to a year ago over the weekend and then playing a Tuesday-afternoon match. The Irish – off to a 7-0 start for the first time since 1984-85 and carrying their highest ranking since 2001 – will conclude a stretch of six straight matches against top-30 foes by playing host to #20 Brigham Young (6-3) on Saturday at 11 a.m. (EST) before facing #51 Wisconsin (3-5) on Sunday at 11 a.m. (EST) and #31 Indiana (8-2) on Tuesday at 3 p.m. (EST), with all three matches in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
IRISH-COUGARS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Brigham Young will meet for the eighth consecutive season and 13th time overall, with the Irish holding a 8-4 edge in the series (see page 42 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), including victories in six of the last seven matches … this will be BYU’s fourth all-time trip to Notre Dame, where it has never won … the closest contest came in 2002, when the 18th-ranked Irish prevailed 5-2 over #51 BYU … the schools first played in 1991, with 13th-ranked Brigham Young winning 5-4 in Provo, Utah, over #23 Notre Dame … the Irish prevailed in the next meeting, taking a 5-2 decision in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis., in 1994 … five of the 12 meetings have come on neutral courts, including a battle of top-10 teams in the 1996 NCAA Championship round of 16, when 10th-ranked Notre Dame prevailed 5-0 over #9 BYU in Tallahassee, Fla. … the 24th-ranked Cougars snapped a six-match losing streak in the series a year ago, topping #22 Notre Dame 6-1 in Provo on March 12 in the second outdoor match of the season for the Irish … BYU won 8-5 at both of the bottom two spots to take the doubles point and then earned straight-set victories at Nos. 2, 3, 5, and 6 in singles to clinch the win … ND won in two sets at No. 1, while the Cougars prevailed in three at No. 4 to secure the final margin … this will be the 12th time in 13 all-time meetings – and seventh straight year – that both squads are nationally-ranked (ND leads 7-4) … it will be the second straight year and sixth time overall that both teams are among the national top 25, with the Cougars having won three of those matches … it will be the eighth tim in the last nine meetings that ND is ranked higher, as well as the 10th time overall (ND leads 6-3) … the Cougars have prevailed in two of the three one-point matches, prevailing 5-4 in 1991 and `95 before ND won 4-3 in 2003.
IRISH-BADGERS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Wisconsin will meet for the 16th consecutive season and 21st time overall, with the Irish holding a 13-7 edge in the series (see page 44 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), including victories in eight of the last 10 matches … the teams have split the last four matches … only four schools (Northwestern-28, Illinois-26, Purdue-24, Michigan-24) have played more all-time matches against the Irish since ND became a varsity program in 1976 … there also are just four squads (Purdue-18, Illinois-17, Michigan-16, Ohio State-14) against which Notre Dame has more all-time victories … the Irish are 13-5 against the Badgers during the 17-year tenure of head coach Jay Louderback, and a win on Sunday would tie Wisconsin with Michigan as the teams to be defeated most by Notre Dame during that span … the Irish have won four straight at home against the Badgers and are 5-3 all-time at home … the last UW win at Notre Dame came in the semifinals of the NCAA Region IV Championship in 1997, when the 21st-ranked Badgers prevailed 5-2 over #19 ND … Wisconsin is one of three teams that have played the Irish on three occasions in the NCAA tournament (also Stanford and Northwestern) … 19th-ranked ND won 5-1 over #25 UW in the regional semifinals in Champaign, Ill., in 1998 … the most-recent meeting saw the 30th-ranked Badgers prevail 4-2 over #21 Notre DAme in the opening round of the 2002 NCAAs in Evanston, Ill. … the schools first played in 1987, Wisconsin winning 9-0 in Madison … Notre Dame earned its first victory in 1991, a 6-3 decision on the road … a year ago, Nicole Beck won a three-setter (7-5 in the third) against Sarah Jane Connelly at No. 5 in the last match remaining to hand Wisconsin a 4-3 triumph at home on March 29 … the Irish – who were without No. 3 player Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) in singles – won the doubles point with victories at Nos. 1 and 3 and got straight-set wins at Nos. 1 and 6 in singles … Wisconsin won in two sets at Nos. 2, 3, and 4 … this will be the 12th consecutive meeting in which Notre Dame carries the higher national ranking (ND is 8-3), as well as the 13th time in the last 14 contests – and sixth in a row – in which both teams are nationally-ranked … the teams have split four matches decided by one point (5-4 or 4-3).
IRISH-HOOSIERS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Indiana will meet for the 18th consecutive season and 20th time overall, with the Hoosiers holding a 10-9 in the series (see page 44 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), though the Irish have won three straight and nine of the last 10 meetings … only three schools (Northwestern-20, Duke-12, Tennessee-12) have more all-time victories against Notre Dame than does Indiana … IU will become the sixth school to play 20 all-time matches against Notre Dame in women’s tennis … the teams have split eight all-time meetings at Notre Dame, but the Irish have won four of the last five … IU’s last victory over ND came in 2002, when the 40th-ranked Hoosiers prevailed 5-2 at the 13th-ranked Irish … the schools first played in 1985, with Indiana winning 9-0 at Notre Dame … the Hoosiers won each of the first nine meetings, before the eighth-ranked Irish broke through for a 7-0 victory at home in 1996 … since that match, IU has beaten Notre Dame just once (2002) … a year ago, current Irish senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) beat Brianna Williams 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 5 in the final match remaining to hand #31 ND a 4-3 win at #35 Indiana … the Irish won at the top two spots to take the doubles point and then got straight-set wins at Nos. 1 and 3 in singles … IU won in two sets at No. 4 and took both three-set affairs (Nos. 2 and 6) … this will be the 11th consecutive meeting in which Notre Dame carries a higher national ranking, but this will be the highest-ranked Irish squad ever faced by the Hoosiers … the teams have split four matches decided by one point (5-4 or 4-3) … ND is 9-7 against Indiana during the 17-year tenure of head coach Jay Louderback.
ND JUMPS TO #7 IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: After beating #30 Michigan (6-1), #22 Tennessee (7-0), and #9 Harvard (5-2) last weekend, the Irish moved up eight spots to seventh in the latest set of Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), which were released on Wednesday. It is the highest ranking for the Irish since they were seventh on April 18, 2001, and is just two off the all-time high of #5 (Feb. 28, 2001). It was the most the Irish had risen from one set of the rankings to the next since going up 21 spots to 27th on March 31, 2003. This is the fourth different season in which ND has been listed in the national top 10 (also 1995-96, `96-97, and 2000-01). In all, 18 of Notre Dame’s 23 regular-season opponents are listed in the rankings, with seven in the top 25: #3 Texas, #6 Northwestern, #8 Duke, #13 Harvard, #10 North Carolina, #14 Vanderbilt, #20 BYU, and #21 Wake Forest. Additionally, the Irish lost 4-3 to USC – currently ranked fourth – during the fall in exhibition action.
IRISH OFF TO BEST START SINCE 1984-85: Notre Dame is 7-0 for the first time since its final season as a Division II program, 1984-85, when it began with 10 consecutive victories en route to a 25-5 record and a trip to the NCAA title match. This is the fifth time the Irish have been 7-0, having also done so in 1980-81 (started 11-0), `81-82 (9-0), and `83-84 (15-0).
ND LOOKS TO WRAP UP UNBEATEN STRETCH OF SIX STRAIGHT AGAINST TOP-30 TEAMS: In a 15-day stretch from Feb. 11-25, Notre Dame will have played six matches, with all of them against teams ranked among the national top 30. Thus far, the Irish are unbeaten, having topped #23 Wake Forest (4-3), #10 North Carolina (5-1), #30 Michigan (6-1), #22 Tennessee (7-0), and #9 Harvard (5-2). Notre Dame will finish it off by playing host to #20 Brigham Young on Saturday. The last time the Irish played six or more in a row against top-30 squads was a seven-match stretch from March 30-April 15 in 2002, when they went 2-5. In all, this is the xxxx time that Notre Dame has played six or more consecutive matches against top-30 squads, having also done so in 1995 (7-7 record in the stretch), `97 (6-5), 2000 (3-3), and `02 (2-5).
IRISH GET TWO WINS OVER TOP-10 TEAMS IN FEBRUARY: After having not beaten a top-10 team since Feb. 7, 2002 (4-3 against #7 USC), Notre Dame knocked off #10 North Carolina (5-1) on Feb. 12 and then beat #9 Harvard (5-2) on Feb. 19. It marked just the third time since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86 that Notre Dame had defeated multiple top-10 squads in the same month. Both previous instances came in noteworthy seasons for the Irish, as the 1995-96 squad – which remains the only team in program history to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Championship – beat #9 Tennessee at home on Feb. 15 and then downed #6 California on Feb. 24 in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis. The 2000-01 team – which peaked at an Irish all-time high of #5 in the national rankings on Feb. 28 – duplicated the feat by downing #8 Wake Forest on Feb. 10 at home and then defeating #7 Pepperdine on Feb. 17 in the Team Indoors. This year’s Irish team – which was ranked 22nd at the time it beat UNC – became the lowest-ranked Irish unit ever to knock off a top-10 opponent. That distinction had previously belonged to the 1993-94 team that was ranked 17th when it beat #10 Kansas in the National Team Indoor Championship.
TOP ALL-TIME IRISH WINS: See pdf for a list of Notre Dame’s 14 all-time victories against top-10 teams since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86, ordered by opponent ranking.
ND 20-1 IN DOUBLES THIS SPRING: Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable in partnered play this spring, going 20-1 (.952) and winning the doubles point in all seven matches. In 14 of those contests (67%), the Irish have lost just three games or fewer. On the season, Notre Dame teams have combined for a 38-12 (.760) record in doubles. Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), ranked second nationally after giving ND its first-ever grand slam title at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, stand 11-2 on the season (7-2 vs. ranked teams), while the No. 2 tandem of sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) – who were reunited this season after pairing to win five USTA super national titles in juniors play – are ranked 29th and sporting a 17-2 record on the season and a 10-match winning streak. Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) are 18-5 together (3-1 against ranked teams) and ranked 49th in the nation. In all, the players on Notre Dame’s roster combined for 29 USTA super national gold balls in the juniors.
IRISH 7-0 AT No. 6 SINGLES, Nos. 2 & 3 DOUBLES: Thus far this spring, Notre Dame remains unbeaten in three positions in its lineups, as the Irish have gone 7-0 at No. 6 singles, as well as Nos. 2 and 3 in doubles. Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) is 6-0 at the bottom singles spot, while senior Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Preparatory School) won there against Xavier. Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) are 6-0 at No. 2 doubles, while seniors Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) and Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) won there against Xavier. Connelly and Stastny are 6-0 at No. 3, with Nelson and Potts claiming a victory there in the Xavier match.
NOTRE DAME IN MIDST OF LONGEST HOMESTAND SINCE 1992-93: Notre Dame is in the mdist of a seven-match homestand, as the Irish will not hit the road again until they travel to Orlando, Fla., for spring break to face Duke on March 15. This is the longest homestand for ND since a seven-match one – in which the Irish were victorious in every match – from March 18-April 2 in 1993. Notre Dame did play each of its first nine dual matches of the 1993-94 campaign at home, though that was interrupted by the Rolex ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, which were then contested in February.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Jay Louderback is in his 17th season at Notre Dame with a 290-147 (.665) record and his 26th year as a collegiate coach with a 494-325 (.603) mark. He ranks fifth among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories. Louderback’s Irish have finished in the national top 30 in each of the last 13 seasons and have won 12 conference titles. Since the preseason of the 1992-93 season, Louderback’s teams have been in the national top 30 in 207 of 209 sets of ITA rankings. After taking over a program looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance, Louderback has helped Notre Dame to the NCAAs 12 times in the last 13 years (which only 10 other schools have done), including five appearances in the round of 16 and a 1996 quarterfinal finish. Louderback, a four-time Midwest Region coach of the year, has been honored as his conference’s top coach on eight occasions, including five times in 10 years in the BIG EAST. In his time at Notre Dame, Louderback’s players have earned All-America honors 15 times, won four national ITA awards, and earned 20 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 12 to the NCAA doubles tournament. In the fall, he delivered the first individual title in an ITA grand slam event, when junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) won the doubles crown in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. His players have dominated the University awards during Louderback’s tenure, leading all sports in both Byron V. Kanaley awards (six) and Francis Patrick O’Connor awards (six). His family was honored with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Tennis Family of the Year Award for 2002. The Arkansas City, Kan., native, and 1976 graduate of Wichita State arrived at Notre Dame prior to the 1989-90 season after coaching for seven years at his alma mater and three years (men and women) at Iowa State.
THOMPSONS GIVE ND TWO TOP-50 SINGLES PLAYERS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1999: Junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – who are ranked 27th and 32nd, respectively, in singles in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings – have combined this spring to give Notre Dame multiple players among the national top 50 in singles for the first time since the initial set of spring rankings in 1998-99, when current assistant coach Michelle Dasso was eighth and Becky Varnum was 47th. Notre Dame is one of just eight schools with multiple players among the top 35 in singles, along with Baylor, California, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, and TCU.
THOMPSONS GIVE ND FIRST-EVER GRAND SLAM TITLE: Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) fought off two match points and finally prevailed in a tiebreaker to give the University of Notre Dame its first-ever title in an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national championship, winning 9-8 (9-7) over Spaniard Lucia Sainz and German Kathrina Winterhalter from Fresno State in the final of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, the first grand slam of the 2005-06 season. Both teams had two match points in the contest, which is the closest doubles final in All-Amercan Championships history since the current pro-set format was adopted in 2001. The Thompsons are the first team from any school to reach the title match of the ITA All-American Championships in consecutive years and come away with a title. Each of the three previous back-to-back finalists had gone winless in both attempts. Notre Dame – which knocked off three top-seven teams to reach the final – lost just 16 total games in the tournament, the second-fewest ever by a doubles champion, behind only the 11 surrendered by Sarah Riske and Aleke Tsoubanos of Vanderbilt in 2002. The Irish opened with an 8-0 victory over the seventh-ranked team of Gabrielle Duch and Neyssa Etienne of South Florida. The twins beat #6 Alice Barnes/Anne Yelsey of Stanford 9-7 in the quarters and came back with an 8-1 triumph against #3 Iva Gersic/Maja Kovacek of New Mexico in the semifinals. Catrina and Christian are the second set of twins from any school – and the first in the All-Americans – ever to win an ITA national championship, following Tami and Teri Whitlinger of Stanford, who won the 1989 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Thompsons – who have been among the final four teams remaining in three of the last four grand slams – improved to 11-4 in their careers in grand slam events. They are now 7-1 in the All-American Championships after Irish competitors had been just 2-5 in its doubles main draw prior to that.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this weekend:
– Notre Dame is 7-0 this season. [last loss: 5/14/05 at #6 Northwestern, 4-0, NCAA second round]
– Notre Dame has won eight consecutive home matches. [last loss: 2/26/05 vs. #13 Texas, 4-3]
– Notre Dame has won the doubles point in all seven matches this sason. [last doubles-point loss: 5/14/05 vs. #6 Northwestern, lost at Nos. 2 and 3]
– Notre Dame has won at No. 6 singles in 11 consecutive matches. [last loss: 4/10/05, Indiana’s Cecile Perton def. Sarah Jane Connelly 6-1, 1-6, 6-3]
– Notre Dame has won at No. 2 doubles in every match this season. [last loss: 5/14/05, Northwestern’s Alexis Prousis/Kristi Roemer def. Brook Buck/Lauren Connelly 9-8 (7-4)]
– Notre Dame has won at No. 3 doubles in every match this season. [last loss: 5/14/05, Northwestern’s Feriel Esseghir/Valerie Vladea def. Sarah Jane Connelly/Kristina Stastny 8-4]
– Notre Dame has won 19 consecutive dual matches when winning at No. 3 singles. [last loss: 4/21/04 at #61 Purdue, 4-3, Catrina Thompson def. Amy Walgenbach 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3]
– Catrina Thompson has won eight consecutive home doubles matches. [last loss: 2/26/05 vs. Texas’ Katie Ruckert/Kendra Strohm 8-5]
– Christian Thompaon is 8-0 in her career in singles matches against BIG EAST Conference players.
– Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson are 4-0 this season in close matches (8-6, 9-7, 9-8). [last loss: 4/13/05 vs. Illinois’ Goulet/Wang 8-6]
– Brook Buck has won 27 consecutive matches when taking the opening set (27-1 career record). [only loss: 9/19/04 vs. Denver’s Jenny Trettin 1-6, 6-3, 6-1]
– Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft have won 10 consecutive matches. [last loss: 10/23/05 vs. Northwestern’s Cristelle Grier/Alexis Prousis 8-4]
– Kristina Stastny has won five consecutive singles matches on the road. [last loss: 11/4/05 vs. Illinois’ Brianna Knue 6-0, 6-1]
– Kristina Stastny is 4-0 in her career as the final match remaining with the doubles point still undecided.
– Lauren Connelly/Kristina Stastny have won seven consecutive matches in doubles. [last loss: 11/6/05 vs. Illinois’ Knue/Harkins 8-6]
– Katie Potts has won 11 consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal 7-5, 6-4]
– Katie Potts has won seven consecutive singles matches on the road. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal 7-5, 6-4]
– Katie Potts is 12-0 as a collegian when winning the first set.
– Lauren Connelly has won four consecutive singles matches [last loss: 10/23/05 vs. #50 Alexis Prousis of Northwestern, 6-0, 6-2]
– Lauren Connelly has won seven consecutive singles matches against BIG EAST Conference players (9-1 career record). [only loss: 4/12/03 vs. Miami’s Sara Robbins 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-4)]
– Kelly Nelson has won four consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/21/05 vs. Michigan’s Allie Shafner, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2]
– Kelly Nelson is 8-0 this season in close sets (6-4, 7-5, or 7-6). [last loss: 11/9/03 vs. Illinois’ Emily Wang, 7-6 in second set]
– Kelly Nelson has won six consecutive close singles matches (three sets, match tiebreaker, or two sets with difference of games of 4 or fewer). [last loss: 11/7/03 vs. Virginia’s Caroline Hammond 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1]
– Kelly Nelson has won five consecutive singles matches outdoors. [last loss: 9/23/05 vs. West Virginia’s Monica Lyskawa 6-3, 6-2]
MOST-COMMON OPPONENTS: See pdf for the list of schools Notre Dame has played most in its 30 seasons of varsity women’s tennis.
MOST WINS VS. ONE TEAM: See pdf for the list of schools Notre Dame has defeated most in its 30 seasons of varsity women’s tennis.
MOST LOSSES AGAINST ONE TEAM: See pdf for the list of teams that have defeated Notre Dame most in its 30 years of varsity women’s tennis.
MOST WINS IN LOUDERBACK ERA: See pdf for the list of schools Notre Dame has defeated most since head coach Jay Louderback began his tenure in 1989-90.
LOSING RECORD IN ALL-TIME SERIES: See pdf for the list of teams that have a winning all-time record against Notre Dame in its 30 years of varsity men’s tennis (minimum five wins over ND).
BIG ELEVEN (OR TWELVE)?: Though Notre Dame participates in the BIG EAST Conference in women’s tennis, a glance at the Irish schedule may not bear out that fact. Notre Dame faces only two BIG EAST foes (Marquette and DePaul) during the regular season, but will take on a total of eight teams from the Big Ten Conference. Only Penn State, Minnesota, and Michigan State from the Big Ten will not play the Irish this season. Notre Dame has had a long history of playing Big Ten teams, posting an all-time 124-73 (.629) mark, averaging over six matches per season against Big Ten teams in the 30-year history of the program. Since the arrival of head coach Jay Louderback in 1989-90, the Irish are 97-34 (.740) against the league. Each of the six most common opponents for Notre Dame in the history of the program are members of the Big Ten (Northwestern-28 matches, Illinois-26, Purdue-24, Michigan-24, Wisconsin-20, Indiana-19). The Irish went 7-3 against Big Ten opponents last season and is 2-0 thus far this spring, having won 7-0 against Ohio State and 6-1 at Michigan.
THOMPSONS START SPRING AT #1: Notre Dame junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) became the top-ranked doubles team in college tennis following the fall portion of the 2005-06 season when the Jan. 10 rankings were released. It was the second time that the Thompson sisters (as well as any ND duo) had been ranked #1 in the nation. They achieved that listing on Feb. 22, 2005, but it was short-lived, as the twins were defeated in their first match after that and fell to #2 in the next of rankings before finishing 2004-05 at fifth. This season, the Thompsons went 5-1 while being ranked #1, but fell to second in the Feb. 22 rankings. They remain only the second set of twin sisters ever to be ranked #1 by the ITA (Tami and Teri Whitlinger of Stanford in 1989). Stanford twins Mike and Bob Bryan – currently ranked #1 in the ATP’s world rankings – also were #1 in 1998.
ND ONE OF FIVE SCHOOLS TO HAVE ENTIRE LINEUP IN REGIONAL RANKINGS: When the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its regional rankings at the end of the fall portion of the season, Notre Dame was one of only five Division I schools – along with Stanford, USC, Baylor, and California – to have its entire lineup earn regional ranks. In addition to having six players among the top 30 in the Midwest Region, three of the top five doubles teams in the region belong to the Irish; junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were #1, while sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) came in fourth, and seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) were fifth. Only one other school (Northwestern) had even multiple squads among the 15 Midwest Region doubles teams listed. In singles, Catrina Thompson led the way at third, while Christian Thompson was 10th, Buck came in 14th, Tefft was 18th, Connelly was 25th, and Stastny was 27th. The last time ND had the top doubles team in the Midwest Region rankings was at the conclusion of the 2000-01 campaign, when current assistant coach Michelle Dasso and Becky Varnum held that spot. Catrina Thompson is the highest-ranked ND singles player in the regional rankings since Alicia Salas concluded her career at #2 in 2003-04.
IRISH WIN ALL 30 SETS IN DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP OF OHIO STATE & XAVIER: Notre Dame was virtually perfect in opening the spring with 7-0 victories against Ohio State and Xavier on Jan. 28. Despite resting its Nos. 3 and 4 players, Notre Dame lost only 11 games in singles against the Musketeers (18 games lost in 15 sets, including the doubles). It was the fewest surrendered by the Irish since Jan. 30, 1999, when Notre Dame allowed Kansas State to win 10 games in singles in a 9-0 decision in Oklahoma City, Okla. That contest, however, featured an Irish walkover at No. 6. The Xavier match marked the fewest singles games surrendered by the Irish in a match with all six singles matches being contested since ND lost just 10 in a 9-0 win against Western Illinois on March 18, 1989.
TWO DECISIVE TIEBREAKERS GIVE USC 4-3 EXHIBITION WIN OVER ND: After nearly 10 hours of play (due to playing concurrent to a men’s match), the exhibition match between the Notre Dame and USC – which began the spring ranked fifth in the nation – on Oct. 14 came down to a single tiebreaker at No. 2 singles, where Dianne Matias prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) over Irish junior Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) to hand the Women of Troy a 4-3 victory. USC’s victory also was keyed by a tiebreaker victory in the final doubles match on court.
IRISH DEPTH ON DISPLAY AT ITA MIDWEST CHAMPIONSHIPS: Notre Dame’s depth was evident at the ITA Midwest Championships – the annual indoor tournament of the top players in the Midwest Region. The Irish were one of just two schools (along with Northwestern) to have three players – senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and juniors Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – among the final 16 in singles. Catrina Thompson reached the semis before falling. ND and the Wildcats also were the only squads to have multiple doubles teams in the quarterfinals: Connelly and fellow senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) plus sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.). The Thompsons – who were ranked #2 nationally at the time – did not compete in doubles in the tournament.
IRISH ADD MARCH 31 HOME MATCH WITH EASTERN MICHIGAN: Notre Dame has added another match to its spring slate, as the Irish will play host to Eastern Michigan on Friday, March 31 at 2:30 p.m. (EST). Notre Dame’s originally-scheduled match at Tulane on April 15 has been cancelled, since the Green Wave program was suspended in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. That changed freed up a date for the Irish to schedule another match.
IRISH A PERENNIAL TOP-30 TEAM: Not only has Notre Dame finished in the top 30 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings in each of the last 13 seasons, but the Irish also have been a near-constant presence. Since the preseason rankings of the 1992-93 season, Notre Dame has been among the top 30 teams in the country in 208 of 210 (99.0%) sets of rankings. The first exception came in late March of 2003, when the transition to the computer rankings moved the Irish from 15th to 27th to 48th and then back to 27th (despite going 6-2 during that time). The second slip out of the top 30 came on April 5 of 2004-05, when ND fell three spots to 31st before moving back to up 26th the following week.
CAPTAIN CONNELLY, THE SEQUEL: Senior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) will serve as Notre Dame’s sole captain during the 2005-06 season. She took over the mantle from her sister, Sarah Jane Connelly, who was Notre Dame’s sole senior in 2004-05. The Connellys are the first sisters to serve as captains of the Irish women’s tennis team, as well as just the fifth sister captain duo in Notre Dame athletics history, following Kathy and Susan Valdiserri (fencing), Julie and Tracy Melby (golf), Carol and Maggie Lally (basketball), and Jessica and Kristen Kinder (volleyball).
THOMPSONS FEATURED IN “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ON CAMPUS” A LIST: Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were two of the 14 student-athletes featured on the “A List” of elite collegiate performers across all sports in the October 13 issue of Sports Illustrated On Campus. In the words of SI On Campus: “Think of the A List this way: the coolest, the hottest, the most of-the-moment, the cream of the crop. Here are 14 faces SIOC would usher to the front of just about any line, no questions asked.” The Thompsons were the only tennis players featured among the group, which also includes the likes of football Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart of USC and Vince Young of Texas, as well as Connecticut basketball standout Rudy Gay.
WOMEN’S TENNIS “GOLD GAME” SET FOR APRIL 5 vs. #6 NORTHWESTERN: Notre Dame’s matchup with #6 Northwestern on Wednesday, April 5 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) has been designated as this season’s women’s tennis “Gold Game,” a distinction created by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council to encourage the entire Notre Dame community to attend particular contests. The match will feature the two teams that have been consistently the top squads in the Midwest Region over the past decade. Northwestern has won the last seven matches in the series – with three of those coming by 4-3 scores – after the Irish had won six straight prior to that. In the Wildcats’ last visit, NU won a third-set tiebreaker in the decisive match to win 4-3.
ND SIGNS TRIO OF TOP RECRUITS, INCLUDING NATION’S #1 PLAYER: Notre Dame women’s tennis head coach Jay Louderback announced that three stars of prep and junior tennis – Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif./Troy H.S.), Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan./Arkansas City H.S.), and Colleen Rielley (Overland Park, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) – signed national letters of intent in the early period and will join the Irish in the fall of 2006. At the time of announcement (Nov. 15, 2005), Rielley was #1 in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) 18-and-under girls’ singles national rankings, while Ciobanu was 17th, and Krisik – a two-time Kansas state champion (2002 and `03) – was 76th. Ciobanu won the Southern California Sectional singles championship in 2005 and also reached the singles final of a USTA National Open last year. She was ranked as high as 15th nationally in singles in `05. Krisik is Louderback’s niece, and she is part of the first mother-daughter combination ever to play for the longtime Irish mentor. Louderback’s sister, Jan, was his first recruit when he began his head coaching career at Wichita State in 1980. Krisik will join both her uncle and her cousin, current sophomore Bailey Louderback (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.), in the Irish program. Rielley is the first Notre Dame signee ever to have been ranked #1 in the USTA girls’ 18s. A three-time prep state champ (Missouri in `03, Kansas in `04 and `05), she won the singles title in the 2004 USTA Winter National Championships, took third in the ’05 National Clay Courts, and also is ranked fourth nationally in doubles.
WE ARE FAMILY: Notre Dame women’s tennis has long featured members of the same family on its teams. For the fourth consecutive season, Notre Dame will have a set of sisters on its roster: junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.). They last year became the first set of Irish sisters — and first twins of either sex — to both become All-Americans. The previous three seasons had featured two pairs of sisters on each Irish roster, but that has changed with the graduation of Maggie Donohue in 2003 and Sarah Jane Connelly last spring. Another family connection was added last season, as head coach Jay Louderback’s daughter, Bailey Louderback (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.), joined the team. He became the 11th Notre Dame coach — just the second in a women’s sport (along with softball’s Brian Boulac) — to have coached his son or daughter with the Irish. Next year, Louderback’s niece, Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan./Arkansas City H.S.) will join the Irish roster.
DAVID DiLUCIA NOW PERSONAL COACH FOR LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A five-time All-American during his four-year career at Notre Dame (1988-92), David DiLucia, left his job with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in December 2005 to become the personal coach of the world’s #1 player, Lindsay Davenport. DiLucia was ranked #1 in both singles and doubles during his collegiate career and then went on to play in the singles main draw in all four professional grand slams before retiring in 2002. During his pro career, DiLucia earned wins over players such as Gustavo Kuerten, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Mark Philippoussis, and David Wheaton.
ND #1 IN NACDA DIRECTORS’ CUP: Notre Dame is in first place in the most-recent set of standings in the 2005-06 United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Dirctors of Athletics (NACDA), which were released on Jan. 12 and included results from all fall sports. Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 412 points based on their third-place finish in men’s cross country (85 points), their seventh-place finish in women’s cross country (69 points), their quarterfinal appearance in women’s soccer (73), their third-round appearance in men’s soccer (64), their regional semifinal appearance in women’s volleyball (64) and their 11th-place finish in football based on the final USA Today poll (57). This marks the second straight year Notre Dame has ranked atop the final fall standings – and its 412 points are its highest-ever fall total. Penn State (308.5 points) ranks second, Stanford (282) is third, and Duke (280) and Wisconsin (277) round out the top five. Notre Dame finished 16th in 2004-05, its fifth consecutive top-20 placing, and has three times finished an all-time high of 11th (1993-94, `95-96, 2000-01). Duke posted its all-time best finish of fifth in 2004-05.
CHANGES TO THE ITA RANKINGS: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) recently announced some changes to its national rankings for the 2005-06 season: (1) It will use one set of points for wins and also a tighter set of points, with less gaps. This set of points will be the same set that has been used for the season’s first computer rankings in the past; (2) There will be bonus points awarded for road wins; (3) The rankings that are run at the time of NCAA Championship selections will be run twice and the second run of the rankings will be the published ranking; (4) There will be expanded, unpublished rankings (and values for opponents): 76-125 for team, 126-175 for singles, and 61-90 for doubles; (5) The first computer rankings (for team) will take place 2 weeks earlier on March 8; (6) The singles and doubles rankings from Fall results will go back to being a computer ranking; it had been done by committee vote the past three years.
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.